Well this is it I'm afraid. Last chapter of this fic. But fear not - Jack, Ianto and Finn will return in another adventure very soon. ;) Thank you all for reading!
"Jack?" Gwen barged into Jack's office without knocking, waving a folder in front of her. "See these reports that have come back from UNIT, were they supposed to go," Gwen stopped mid-sentence as she looked up at Jack who was hastily wiping at his eyes with one hand while pushing photos back into a box with the other.
"Were they supposed to what?" He asked, giving her a patent Harkness smile as he closed the lid on the old biscuit tin.
"Is everything ok Jack?" Gwen questioned as she took the last few steps towards Jack's desk. Her eye caught an aging photo he had missed on the desk of an couple smartly dressed. She caught sight of Jack's face before Jack was whipping the photo out of sight into the biscuit tin.
"Everything's fine. Those reports?" Jack quirked an eyebrow, indicating the files in Gwen's hand.
"Yeah," The vowels in the middle got lengthened as Gwen tried to pry her eyes away from the lid of the biscuit tin. "Were they supposed to go to Glasgow before us? 'Cause they haven't."
"I think so." Jack replied, flicking through the files quickly. "Double check with Ianto and then stick them in the post." Jack handed the files back to Gwen. "But I'd make copies, and maybe send an e-mail as well, you know what Archie's like."
Gwen nodded, watching Jack for a moment longer before retreating out his office.
She found Ianto in the archives, his sleeves rolled up as he beat dust off several stacks of files, coughing slightly.
"Ianto?" Gwen called when she was a few feet away from him.
"Hello?" Ianto spun on his heel towards Gwen, a smile on his face.
"Were these supposed to go to Glasgow?" Gwen asked, thrusting the files under his nose. Ianto perused them for a moment before handing them back.
"Yup. But I would photocopy them first and maybe e-mail Archie because,"
"You know what Archie's like." Gwen finished, mirroring his smile.
"Never thought I'd find someone as bad at paperwork as Owen." Ianto teased as he turned back to the stacks of files. When he swung back round again Gwen was still stood there watching him.
"Was there something else you wanted?" Ianto asked dubiously.
Gwen didn't waste time beating about the bush. "Is Jack ok?"
Ianto blinked a couple of times at Gwen, always surprised by her bluntness. "As far as I'm aware, why?"
Gwen sighed. "He was just, well he was looking at some photographs out of an old biscuit tin and I think, I think he was crying."
Ianto let out his own sigh. "I'll talk to him." He didn't wait for a reply from Gwen before he was striding out of the archives towards Jack's office.
"Ianto?" Gwen frowned before following after him at a jog.
"Ianto?" she called again as he moved into Jack's office shutting the door behind him. Gwen had her hand on the door, peering through the glass to find Ianto leaning on the desk and Jack looking up at him like a deer caught in headlights before she found that she couldn't intrude. She suddenly knew that this wasn't a Torchwood matter, she didn't even need Ianto's words that drifted out under the door to her.
"I thought we talked about this?" Ianto pressed his palms into the desk, leaning towards Jack.
"Talked about what? Bursting into my office all manly and impulsive? 'Cause I'm pretty sure I would remember a conversation like that." Jack teased.
"Gwen found you with those photos crying over them, I thought we'd talked about the fact that we were going to be together, immortality and Torchwood be damned?"
"We did." Jack said after a moments hesitation.
"Then why are you still upset about it?" Ianto asked more gently.
"Then why the fuck were you crying Jack?" Ianto asked, losing patience.
"I wasn't." Jack had a look of amusement on his face now as he bent to retrieve the tin from the bottom draw of his desk. He shifted through the contents for a moment before he passed a photo over to Ianto who still had a confused look on his face.
Ianto took the photo from Jack's hands, regarding it for a moment as a blush crept onto his face before he burst out laughing. Jack soon joined him laughing before tears were streaming down both their faces.
"When the hell did you take this?" Ianto asked when he got his breath back, turning it back so Jack could see it again.
"Well I didn't take it did I? You want to have a word with that nephew of yours." Jack reached out for the photo but Ianto drew it away.
"I think I'll keep this." Ianto said, clutching the photo to his chest as Jack tried to snatch it again.
"Oi you, give it back." Jack leapt up round the desk as Ianto backed away towards the door. "Get your own." Jack made another grab for the photo as Ianto twisted the doorknob of Jack's office and made a hasty retreat.
"Ianto!" Jack whined, following the young Welshman out into the hub. Three faces turned to regard the childish argument as Ianto leapt round Tosh's chair, putting a surprised Tosh between him and Jack.
"No using Tosh as a shield, that's cheating!" Jack moaned, making another grab for the photo as Ianto pulled out of his reach again, dancing round Tosh's chair.
"Eh, what's going on?" Tosh asked as she spun in her seat, giving a nervous chuckle.
"Ianto is acting like a child and won't give me something back." Jack bemoaned, stomping his foot on the grating as Ianto dodged out his way again, backing down the stairs.
"Yes, Ianto is clearly the one being the child in this situation." Owen commented, watching with an amused look on his face as Ianto beat a hasty retreat up the stairs to the hothouse.
"Don't you dare knock over any of my plants!" Owen called after them, getting up to follow. Tosh giggled as Ianto dove inside the hothouse, Jack hot on his trail before she noticed Gwen with a puzzled look on her face.
"Gwen? You ok?" Tosh asked, getting up to go and stand beside her at her desk.
"Yeah, it's just," Gwen paused as there was a crash from somewhere above followed by Owen cursing and Ianto reappearing at the other side of the hothouse.
"You can clear that up! That wasn't my fault!" Ianto called cheekily before he ducked out of Jack's grasp again, running down the stairs.
"I don't understand those two now." Gwen commented, shifting slightly in her chair so she could see where Jack now had Ianto round the waist, trying to hold onto him with one hand while the other reached for the photo Ianto was holding just out of reach.
"What do you mean?" Tosh asked, unable to hide her smirk as Jack managed to snatch the photo back from Ianto before dropping him at the edge of the water so his shoes got wet.
"Well since they've come back they've been so silly and childlike and more, I don't know, they seem a lot closer." Gwen observed.
"And this is bad?" Tosh questioned, turning to regard Gwen and frowning slightly at her words.
"No." Gwen shook her head. "But I caught Jack crying not long ago and now he's laughing and joking like nothing happened."
"Sure they weren't happy tears?" Tosh asked before laughing outright as Ianto poured the contents of his wet shoe over Jack's head. "Hundreds of years without anyone, without a family, you not think maybe he deserves someone." Tosh voiced, her words not really a question, more a statement of fact.
"He's jealous of you and Rhys you know." Tosh added as her and Gwen continued to watch the play fight between Jack and Ianto, both of whom had apparently forgotten what they were arguing over. Gwen's eyes widened slightly, turning to look at Tosh.
"Not because he wishes he was with you." Tosh clarified. "He wants what you have, and I think maybe over the weekend he's suddenly realised what he's got with Ianto is the closest he's going to get to that."
Gwen regarded Tosh for a moment before nodding in agreement.
"Ever think about becoming an agony aunt?" Gwen half teased as Owen started yelling at Jack and Ianto again. Both men stopping in the throws of trying to dump each other in the water to look up at Owen like naughty school children caught in the act.
Ianto was sat on his living room floor, a photo album spread out in front of him and Finlay in his lap. Finn was sliding the pictures from the Aberystwyth weekend into the plastic album sleeves that Jack had finally given Ianto after much persuasion while Ianto was writing what they were in the margin.
"Can we put this one in a photo frame instead of the album Uncy Yan?" Finn asked, picking up the photo that held Jack, Ianto and Finn in place, smiling at the stranger behind the camera that Jack had collared into taking a picture.
"I suppose we could, but I don't have a frame to put it in." Ianto reasoned, taking the picture from Finn. He gazed into his own eyes for a long moment and the mirthfully youth reflected there that mirrored both Jack's and Finn's.
"We could go shopping tomorrow and get one." Finn suggested, already sliding in the next photo that captured Finn and Jack building pebble sandcastles.
"I have to go to work I'm afraid but maybe Mummy might take you to pick one out?" Ianto suggested, glancing over his shoulder at his sister as she appeared in the living room with a half glass of wine.
"Mummy might take you if you don't wake her up at the crack of dawn." Ria voiced as she slumped on the couch behind Ianto.
"Should you be drinking?" Ianto questioned, straining to see his sister who just glared at him in return.
"When did you become a doctor?" Ria sniped, taking a rather large mouthful in defiance. Ianto frowned, looking back down at the photo album over Finlay's head.
"Sorry Ianto." Ria sighed and Ianto felt his sister's fingers in his hair, an oddly comforting experience after so many years without that reassuring touch.
"I don't mean to snap at you." Ria apologised as Ianto felt her lips through his hair. Ianto leaned back slightly so his head was resting against Ria's left leg.
"I know." Ianto soothed, one hand coming to snake round his sister's leg, rubbing it slightly while the other held onto to Finn as he threatened to tip forward into the coffee table.
"Jack not coming round tonight?" Ria asked as she caught sight of one of the pictures that housed a slightly blurry photo of Jack and Ianto. It was lopsided and Ria guessed that Finn must have taken it since half her brother's head was missing. That wasn't what mattered though; Ianto looked unequivocally happy.
"He's working." Ianto replied, scribbling down 'Finn & Jack's Stone Sandcastles. Aberystwyth '08.' in the margin of the album.
"Isn't that the same place you work?" Ria questioned, a slightly teasing tone to her voice. Ianto sighed, knowing full well he couldn't keep anything from his sister.
"I may have had a minor freak out at him about work and home being separate in my life which is why I think he didn't come home with me tonight." Ianto replied, putting the album back down so Finn could slide the next photo in.
"But he's Uncle Jack." Finn voiced, carefully picking up the blurred image of Ianto and Jack that had previously captivated Ria's attention and sliding it into the plastic wallet.
"From the mouth of babes." Ria mumbled before taking another sip of wine, reaching for the television remote and turning it on. Ianto knew without looking his sister had a knowing smirk on her face. He also knew – as always – she was right.
Jack looked up when he heard the hub door rolling back and the proximity alert sounding. By the time he had reached his office doorway Ianto was at the top of the stairs, looking across the expanse of the hub at him.
"I thought you were spending the night with your family?" Jack asked after a long silence, folding his arms across his chest in a defensive gesture.
"I was." Ianto replied softly, swallowing slightly at the sudden dryness in his throat as he shoved his hands in his jeans pockets.
"Thing is," Ianto started, shuffling from one foot to the other before looking back up at Jack. "There's someone missing."
"Really?" Jack asked, trying to keep the grin from his face.
"Jack if I finish that sentence it's going to sound like the end of some cheesy romantic comedy."
Ianto rolled his eyes at himself.
"But if you don't finish it then I might not know what you're talking about." Jack replied, shuffling forward towards Ianto slightly. Ianto sighed, frowning up at Jack.
"What do you want me to say? That the bed's too big without you? That you're Uncle Jack? That I want you to come home to where you belong? Does it really need saying Jack?" Ianto asked, throwing his hands wide in a gesture of how open he was being.
"You're right, it is a bit 'cheesy romantic comedy'. I'll just get my coat." Jack replied, pointing over his shoulder into his office. Jack couldn't help but smile to himself though as he disappeared inside, pulling his greatcoat from the coat stand. He paused as he pulled the coat over his shoulders, remembering the first time he had been called Uncle Jack by Finn and how at home he had felt, how pleased he had been to hear about him and Ianto growing old on a Veranda together in the Welsh countryside. Before he had a chance to turn round he felt Ianto's arms curling round his back, clasping at his front over his heart.
"I love you." Ianto whispered in his ear before kissing the side of his neck. Jack sighed contentedly, turning in Ianto's arms so he was facing the younger man. Jack wasn't going to get his happily ever after; he knew that one day the devil would get King Ianto and no amount of trickery or healing water would let Sir Jack get him back. The thing was Jack had been trapped in his own reflection so long he had forgotten to look at the world and take each moment as it came. He had an infinity of life just waiting to be lived, but Jack Harkness had forgotten about living and made done with existing for so long now.
"I love you too." Jack whispered, leaning in to capture Ianto's lips in a tender kiss that reinforced his words. There would be no happily ever after but he would make do with 'happy for now'.